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Found 6 results

  1. William Burroughs, Junky This compelling autobiography of the leading Beat writer is for me reminder that gold often lies among the trash in the centre of the city dump. Years ago I sampled Burroughs’ The Naked Lunch, but gave up in despair at its incongruities, its sudden passages of brilliance being insufficient to compensate for what often seemed mind-wandering drivel. I thought I’d never touch Burroughs again. Junky, however is something else; its sad-eyed, intelligent and honest writing strikes a melancholy chord. I might even try him again. Like much American autobiography Junky captur
  2. Disappointment. I loved The Glorious Heresies and picked up this follow up with the highest hopes. I wish I hadn't. Because, the high points for The Glorious Heresies had been the blend of farce and crime; the balance between good people; inept people and bad people; the multiple viewpoints; the contrast between the Celtic Tiger and the organised crime. But these are all missing in The Blood Miracles. It is just a straight story of drug deals. The characters are the same - well some of them reappear, but then they only seem to come in two dimensions. For example, Ryan Cusack had been on t
  3. A Brief History of Seven Killings is not brief. Nor, strictly speaking, does the death toll end up at seven. Set in Jamaica (mostly – there are a couple of offshoots to Miami and New York), spanning the time frame 1976-1991, and featuring multiple stream of consciousness narrators, this is a complex novel. It interweaves drug gangs and politics; it blurs the lines between life and death (at least one of the narrators is a ghost); and the timelines are far from sequential. To further add to the confusion, many of the characters narrate in a bombor’asscloth patois peppered with expletives, sho
  4. Ned Beauman is a quirky, inventive writer. He writes with an immediacy, a sense of playful ness. Much of his material is quite surreal and ever-so-stylised. So with Glow, we find ourselves in a pastiche of an urban lad-lit novel. Young men hop from bedsit to bedsit doing drugs all night and crashing in cafes all the day. They sleep around and don’t have proper jobs. You know the genre. Unlike the pulp fiction it emulates, Glow buries itself in huge pharmacological levels of detail and includes surreal undercurrents involving white vans, foxes and Burma. Add to this a chap called Raf wh
  5. Discuss Ablutions. You are reading Patrick de Witt's first novel on the strength of his Booker shortlisted Sisters Brothers. You are drawn to the cover; it looks similar to the Sisters Brothers. It isn't. You find yourself in a bar, somewhere in America. Probably Los Angeles. You aren't quite clear where. You view the world through an alcoholic haze, drinking free Jameson's Irish Whiskey in a bar where few people seem to pay for their drinks. You are pouring the drinks even though, it seems, you are not the barman. Discuss the customers. They include a child TV star who has fallen for the dr
  6. Narcopolis, Jeet Thayil's debut novel, was shortlisted for the 2012 Man Booker prize, although as I recall considered a rank outsider to win. It certainly has the kind of elements that might turn the heads of some prize judging panels. It is stylistically experimental, with a first sentence running to six pages, even longer than it seems in the context of what is a fairly short novel. It is epic in scope, covering thirty years in the history of Bombay's (never Mumbai) opium smoking classes, and examining the lives of a variety of characters, from Mr Lee, who flees communist China's Cultura
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